All you need to know about the bone broth craze

Kevin Farrell

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Bone broth protein supplement manufacturer Ancient Nutrition is $103 million richer thanks to a strategic investment deal from VMG Partners, Hillhouse Capital, ICONIQ Capital, and a consortium of 100 co-investors. The extra cash in their coffers will help Ancient take their GMO-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, grain-free, and nut-free products into new markets, and help transform bone broth from something you hear about on The Today Show to something you might actually place in your shopping cart. Bone broth will most assuredly try to conquer your book club this year. Before it does, here’s what you need to know.


So...bone broth. Is it just broth made from bones?

Sort of! Bone broth can be made with bones from nearly anything – chicken, beef, turkey, even fish. The name is actually something of a misnomer, as broths are generally thinner liquids made primarily with meat and vegetables. Stocks on the other hand are fuller, more viscous liquids made by slowly cooking down the bones and tendons of an animal. As the bones break down, the liquid takes on a more gelatinous texture. That rich, thick, collagen-loaded stew is what loyalists are talking about when they say bone broth.

Why are people drinking this?

First thing’s first: people have been consuming bone broth for thousands of years. Not because it was buzzy, but because cooking down the tough, difficult to digest parts of an animal sometimes meant the difference between life and death for nomadic hunters and gatherers whose next meal was hardly a guarantee.

Second wave bone broth bubbled back into the public discourse as a means of treating Leaky Gut Syndrome, a digestive system condition which allows improperly digested foods to advance through the body’s various digestive stages prematurely. Some Leaky Gut Syndrome sufferers who incorporated bone broth into their diet inadvertently discovered that it also did wonders on all sorts of other parts of the body.

Go on…Tell me about the supposed health benefits.

Fans of the trend say that incorporating bone broth into their diets brightens and clears skin, and makes hair and nails shinier and stronger, for starters. Joint health is also frequently mentioned as seeing a marked improvement with regular consumption. The science gets a little wobblier from here out though, as some credit their liquid gold with reducing the appearance of cellulite, and boosting the body’s immune system and ability to fight allergens, thereby reducing inflammation.

Bone broth is also said to suppress some people’s appetites, and is sometimes marketed as a meal replacement or even week-long cleanse. Chances are that if you are replacing meals with broth, then yes, you’re going to see some weight loss.

Wait, tell me more about the bone broth cleanse.

Well, it’s more of a limited diet plus bone broth situation than the prolonged juice-only diets you might associate with the word cleanse. Imagine so-called “clean” foods like eggs, organic fruits and vegetables, and grass-fed proteins in addition to two servings of bone broth each day. The Osso Good Co. sells one of the most popular cleanse options. They’ll ship you 14 16oz pouches – beef, chicken, and Revive the Gut options – for about $140.

A cursory Googling will give you a plethora of write-ups about the experience of being on one of these cleanses. Once you get outside of the health & wellness blogger field of gravity into more mainstream publications, the results of these cleanses seem to be decidedly mixed.

Do I know anyone drinking it?

It mostly depends on where you live, to be honest. New York and Los Angeles predictably have restaurants catering to the craze. Progressive towns like Boulder, CO and Portland, OR also have local twists on the stuff available in a handful of butcher shops and restaurants. Consider these spots ground zero for the trend. Ask for a steaming mug of bone broth in a restaurant in Tulsa, OK on the other hand, and be prepared to be met with a curious stare.

Can’t I just make my own?

Ding! Ding! Ding! Here’s the thing about bone broth, folks: you’ve likely already made the stuff before all by yourself. It’s called soup! You don’t need to be Ina Garten to carve out an hour every couple of weeks in order to make your own stock at home. People already do this, fairly regularly. You don’t need $140 to test this health craze out for yourself. What you need instead is just some chicken bones, an onion, some canned tomatoes, and a handful of herbs.

As far as accessible health trends go, this one is close to the top. Fill a basket with some veggies, and pop by your local butcher on the way home for relatively some cheap bones. Toss everything into a pot, and let it slowly simmer overnight. If you can’t stomach a steaming cup of your work in the morning in lieu of your usual coffee, then you’re only out 20 bucks and a bit of time. Bone appétit!


Kevin Farrell

About Kevin Farrell

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